Massey University opens up new Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab) providing students access to high tech tools. There are now about 130 existing and planned Fab Labs worldwide, from innercity Boston to rural India, South Africa to the North of Norway, but Massey’s will be the first in Australasia.
“We want to be a hub to get labs across New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific,” says Industrial Design Lecturer Chris Jackson. “We’re already talking to other universities, wananga, secondary schools and public libraries.”
Mr Jackson hopes the Fab Lab will help make digital fabrication technology accessible to sole traders and small start-ups in New Zealand. “Until relatively recently, 3D printers were costly and inaccessible to the public. What we’re seeing now is the domestication of the technology, with more and more people finding ways to share projects, expertise and equipment.”
He also says being part of the global Fab Lab network opens up huge opportunities for New Zealanders. “Fab Lab projects are open source and can be shared between labs. There’s good evidence that openness can stimulate people to be more innovative, and speeds up invention. There’s already a DIY maker movement here working on the cusp of new technology with a contemporary Number 8 Wire mentality. Fab Lab feeds into that culture. We can provide access to technology, but also help people make connections between disciplines and industries, and that should be a catalyst to more innovation in New Zealand.”
Fab Lab Wellington will have designated open hours for the general public, including workshops where people can learn from Massey’s industrial designers.
Meanwhile Massey University's College of Creative Arts and the Affect Research Centre, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Centre for Bits and Atoms, is hosting the seminar Fab 8 NZ in Wellington from August 22-28.
Fab 8 NZ is the eighth annual Fab Lab Forum and Symposium on Digital Fabrication and this year it is heading to Wellington, New Zealand for the first time.
Fab 8 NZ includes a week of hands-on workshops and a one-day public symposium. For designers with some basic maker experience, there's also a two-day "Fab Foo", focusing on the skills, concepts and philosophies particular to the Fab Lab movement.
Expect presentations will be from organisations including WETA FX, DARPA, NASA, MIT, Ponoko and Arup, and talk on subjects from prototyping in outer space to 3D printing of human organs.
Wednesday August 22 – Tuesday 28
The full seven-day forum is reserved for members of the existing Fab Lab network, and people interested in starting labs to share best practice, engage in workshops and plan for the future. Fab Lab founder Professor Gershenfeld of MIT will attend the forum.
- How to Start your own Fab Lab
- Documentation, measurement and assessment
- Mentoring new labs
- Make a circuit board
- DIY/Maker furniture
- How to make your own 3D printer
- FAB in the city: PiTo to DiDo, sustainability and Fab Labs
- Fab Lab Review
Saturday August 25 - Sunday 26: Two-day Fab Foo workshops (A limited number of spaces open to the public).
- Machines that Make
- DIY Furniture
- Open Design
- Art Fab
Monday August 27: Public Academic Symposium on Digital Fabrication
This one-day conference explores many different topics such as "Printing Functional Materials", "Fabrication in Space" and applications and implications for Fab Labs. During the conference the Wellington Fab Lab at Massey University will also be opened.
Early bird prices:
7 Day Conference (workshops and symposium included) – NZ$450
1 day Public Symposium on Digital Fabrication:
- Adult – NZ$150
- Unwaged / Student – NZ$50
Fab Camp Weekend Workshops:
- 1 Day – NZ$120
- 2 Day Combo – NZ$220
Registration is now open, check for more informtion at fab8nz.com.
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